Do beetles bite? Myths And Facts

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Beetles are a type of insect that is found all around the world. Do beetles bite? Myths and facts about these species that belong to the order Coleoptera. While many people believe that all types of beetles bite, the truth is that most beetles do not bite humans. 

However, some beetles may not look harmful, and they can bite. There is a wide variety of beetle species, and only some of them have painful bites.

If you get bitten by a beetle, you may experience some pain and swelling. Moreover, beetle bites can lead to infections or might cause swelling on the part of the body where they are bitten. Be conscious of the potential risks when dealing with these creatures.

Are beetles harmful to humans?

Although most beetles are harmless to humans, a few species can be harmful if disturbed. However, beetles are beneficial for the most part because they help control pests and decompose organic matter.

Do beetles bite?

Though they may seem insignificant, beetles can cause a lot of damage to plants. They are pests that feed on the leaves and stems of plants, often causing them to wither and die.

While not all beetles will bite humans, those that do can cause a bit of swelling. Generally, this swelling is temporary and won’t cause any long-term issues. However, it’s always best to be safe around any beetle, just in case.

Do beetles bite Humans?

Beetles are the pests that come in various shapes and sizes, and most species have biting mouthparts.

This means that they can bite humans, resulting in pain, swelling, and even infection. While most beetles do not bite humans, there are a few that can cause some pain.

Types of Beetles that bite

Long-Horned Beetles

Long-horned beetles are a type of beetle found in North America. They are most recognizable for their long antennae, three times longer than their bodies. Adult long-horned beetles grow to be over half an inch long.

Though they are often considered pests, long-horned beetles play an important role in the environment. They help recycle decaying wood and are attracted to dying trees, which can help prevent forest fires.

But do horned beetles bite? In some cases, long-horned beetles will bite a human if they feel threatened. The bite can cause swelling and acute pain that may last for up to 48 hours. However, the beetle’s bite is not fatal to humans.

Long-Horned Beetles with its distinct antennae

African Bombardier Beetles

Bombardier beetles are a type of beetle that possesses a unique defense mechanism. Their defense system involves the release of a liquid with an explosive sound. This liquid is released from the beetle’s abdomen and can irritate the skin and eyes.

One of the prevalent myths is that African bombardier beetles can shoot boiling hot liquid from their rear end. In reality, this liquid can only irritate and burn the skin, causing it to feel like a bite or sting.

Stronger and wider mandibles that can hurt human skin

There are more than 500 these bugs species worldwide. The beetles get their common name from their ability to produce a loud popping noise by squirting hot, acrid fluid from their abdomen.

Although these beetles can produce a nasty bite, they are not aggressive and will only do so if provoked.

Stag Beetles

The stag beetle is a large, iconic beetle found in habitats throughout the world. They get their name from their characteristic antler-like mandibles.

Unfortunately, many people believe the myths about stag beetles and often fear them for no reason.

Contrary to popular belief, stag beetles do not bite humans. The males of the species have enlarged mandibles that they use to fight each other for possession of food and mates, but the mandibles of the male are too weak to cause harm to humans.

Female stag beetles have powerful mandibles to protect their young and themselves. Their mandibles can inflict a painful bite.

But stag beetles are not aggressive and generally avoid humans, So if you ever come across a stag beetle, don’t be afraid; enjoy observing this magnificent creature!

What happens if a stag beetle bites you?

The stag beetle is a common insect found in many gardens. A stag beetle’s bite is not fatal, but it can be painful. The beetles have powerful mandibles to defend themselves and their territory. These bites can cause a person some discomfort, but they are not generally dangerous.

In short, while the jaws of a female stag beetle can cause a human bite that results in swelling, the effect is only temporary.

The males have a wide jaw, often mistaken for a bite, but they can’t harm humans. Mistaken for a bite. However, their jaws are not strong enough to break the skin, and they pose no threat to humans.

Blister beetles

People often have questions about blister beetles, such as “Do they bite?” and “Are they dangerous?”. It is important to be aware of these insects and take the necessary precautions if you encounter them.

When a beetle bites someone, it often releases cantharidin. This chemical causes human skin to blister and is quite painful.

In some cases, a person might experience an allergic reaction after coming into contact with the toxin from a blister beetle. This process disappears over time but can be fatal if left untreated.

blister beetles with acid releasing abdomen

Can you die from a beetle bite?

Beetle bites are not deadly and usually only cause temporary pain. Although there are a few exceptions, some beetle bites can be more harmful than others. It is important to know the facts about beetles and their bites so you can protect yourself if necessary.

Although fatalities from beetle bites are rare, there have been cases where people have died due to beetle bites. However, most people will only experience some swelling and an allergic reaction in the specific area where they were bitten.

Interestingly, blister beetles release an odorless chemical called cantharidin, which causes a burning sensation and reddens the skin area. While this toxin is rarely deadly, it can cause extreme pain, scarring, and even death in rare cases.

What happens if a beetle bites you?

If a beetle bites you, you will likely experience a skin reaction. This can include swelling, blisters, and in some cases, an allergic reaction.

The blister will heal within a few days, and the pain will eventually go away. However, keep an eye on the bite area as it may become infected.

How to treat beetle welts or blisters?

If a beetle bites you, the best way to treat it is to wash the area with warm, soapy water and apply an antiseptic. This will help prevent further inflammation or sepsis. If you experience any other symptoms, such as fever or nausea, seek medical attention immediately.

If you are bitten by a beetle and develop welts or blisters, there are a few things that you can do to relieve the itching. You can use a cream that contains lidocaine to reduce itching.

And also, keep in your mind that there are many myths about beetles, so make sure to research before panicking.

Are beetles poisonous?

Beetles have glands that secrete a toxin harmful to humans and other animals. The toxin can cause skin irritations, vomiting, and even death. While most beetles are not poisonous, it is best to avoid them if you are unsure.

Beetles themselves are not poisonous, but their bites can be. Beetles mostly feed on other insects, so they are not likely to bite humans. However, if a beetle bites a person, it will likely cause blisters and swelling.

beetle crawling on the ground

Beetles are classified like insects and belong to the family Meloidae. This family is known for its blister beetles, which can be harmful if they bite or sting someone. However, most beetles are harmless and do not threaten humans.

In short, beetle bites are not common and usually don’t cause any damage. However, if the person bitten has an allergic reaction, they may experience blisters.


There are diverse forms to get rid of beetles in your garden. Some popular methods include using traps, pesticides, or organic methods.

Neem oil, handpicking, detergent soap solution, and an insecticide can all effectively eliminate these pests.

In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the myths and facts about beetles and look out for allergic reactions if they bite you.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.